About creativity and motivation: How the Startbahninchen intersects engineering, art and business

Or something like that. Recently I spent some weekends on a small NFT generation project. One could say, it was for work, but it really wasn’t. In truth I built it for me.

You can find the source code here: https://github.com/DyosTheNerd/SRRNFTVoucherService

And a running prototype on the mumbai polygon testnet here : https://feather-diamond-virgo.glitch.me/

Engineering the project

Why do I say, it could be for work?

Because I implemented a website that uses the new “Issue” API we lauch at work. The demo uses the API to issue SRR (Startrail Registry Record), the core NFT product of my current employer Startbahn, as well as the provided webhooks.

So, why is it not for work then?

Because while I implemented a website that uses my employers API, its not the only thing.

  • I learned about how to set up SVG files and generate images for the SRR NFTs I am building.
  • I automated many manual processes about the generation of the images, such as:
    • how to generate preview images for the features
    • how to generate the form of the generation website
  • I am happy with the separation between the generation process and the technical plumbing. I can easily make a different art project with the same infrastructure, and only change a few files for that.

About the Art

I enjoy being around visual art. There are pictures in my room of things I enjoy, like boardgames or Japanese aesthetics. I would not pay the obscene prices needed to own what one could consider “fine art”. Its ok for me, that other people do. Art has to mean something, and is not an object of speculation for me.

I guess I was never good at creating art myself, and hated it in school as much as my art teachers hated me. Since a few years now however I started to enjoy creating art , although it was never a focus of mine. The Pixelart of my previous game was a lot of fun. Its probably not good, but its also not how I choose to make a living. Art is an outlet for me to focus on things other than work, and it refreshes my mind.

Building the Startbahninchen was just a lot of fun. Contrary to many NFT projects, I am not in particular interested in having any kind of rarity. Its more the quest to give my users some influence over their own custom bunny. If in the end all take the black rabbit with the white spot, that would be fine for me….

So what does this have to do with business?

While the art is maybe enough to show somebody else, it might not be enough to sell it. And that is fine. But the system proves a point: I was able to build a service, that can be integrated into my companies services in so many levels.

  • Use it as a service to send welcome SRR to new customers
  • Use it during pitches
  • Use it to onboard clients and give them a headstart against classical api documentation
  • Use it to build an internal motivation program that also gives feedback to the core products, by helping to onboard the employees to use the Startbahn services.

For me, this shows the value of giving engineers and developers time to follow their passion projects and build something aside from their regular projects.

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